Pediatric bounce house injuries on the rise

An article appearing in the November 26th issue of PEDIATRICS, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), examines the rapidly growing number of children’s bounce house related injuries. The study analyzed data on bounce house injuries treated in US emergency departments from 1990-2010. Data showed that more than 64,000 children were treated for bounce house related injuries in a 21-year timespan. Bounce houses, also know as moonwalks, jumping castles or inflatable bouncers have become an increasingly common source of entertainment in recent years.  However, the rapid rise in injuries has called into question the safety of the devices. The study, the first to use nationally representative date, found that from 1995-2010 the rates of injuries increased 15-fold. From 2008 – 2010, the number of bounce house injuries more than doubled. In 2010 alone, 31 children per day were treated for bounce house related injuries.

The most common injuries reported were fractures, strains and sprains, but other injuries included lacerations and concussions.  Many injuries reported were the result of falls in or around the bouncers, but other causes included collisions with other jumpers, entrapment and attempted stunts. Researchers expressed concern that more than 2,000 of the reported injuries resulted from stunts. Attempted stunts, especially flips, are very dangerous because they are often associated with neurologic injury.

Researchers determined that the data on bounce house related injuries is very similar to the data on trampoline related injuries and given the rapid growth of bounce house injuries, there is a need for additional guidance for safer bouncer usage. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatric reaffirmed its recommendation that trampolines only be used as part of a structured training or therapy program with appropriate safety measures in place.  At this time, bounce houses have not been utilized as part of training or therapy. Given the recent increase in bounce house related injuries and similarities to trampoline injuries, researchers urge policy makers to formulate recommendations for safer bounce house usage and design.

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